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ATC presents True West and topdog/underdog in Rotating Repertory

True West and topdog/underdogAmerican Theater Company (ATC) continues its ambitious Season 24 with the inauguration of American Classic Repertory featuring Sam Shepard's True West directed by ATC Artistic Director PJ Paparelli and Suzan-Lori Parks' topdog/underdog directed by Congo Square Theatre Company Artistic Director Derrick Sanders. American Classic Repertory will run at American Theatre Company, 1909 W Byron St, Chicago.

American Classic Repertory begins with Sam Shepard's True West, which will run January 15 - March 8, 2009. Shepard's most produced play tells the story of two brothers: Austin, an ambitious Hollywood screenwriter working on a potential million-dollar deal and Lee, a vagabond thief with a compulsion for six-packs and toasters. Austin and Lee face off for control while venting demons from their dysfunctional past.

On January 22, Suzan-Lori Parks' topdog/underdog joins True West in repertory and will run January 22 - March 8, 2009. Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece explores two brothers: Lincoln, ex-"3-card" player turned legitimate entertainer, and Booth, a petty thief who wants to learn his brother's game. Lincoln and Booth struggle to make a new life that will finally lead them out of poverty.

In addition to the plays alternating nightly, the actors playing the brothers will switch between productions beginning February 5, 2009. In this groundbreaking decision to reverse casts, ATC's American Classic Repertory offers audiences the opportunity to see two versions of each play on a single set.

"The inauguration of American Classic Repertory with True West and topdog/underdog is historical simply in the pairing of the plays, that it goes on to break ground with the first ever nontraditional production of topdog/underdog is truly thrilling for us," says Artistic Director PJ Paparelli. "American Classic Repertory provides a unique theatre experience for both audiences and artists. We gather in a space to experience two stories about brotherhood from two radically different vantage points of American culture, and the goal is that we all come out of this experience with a greater respect for each other and a profound understanding and connection to that which unites all of us as Americans."

The original cast for True West features ATC Ensemble Members Matthew Brumlow as Austin and Suzanne Petri as Mom, Ian Paul Custer as Saul, and Stephen Louis Grush as Lee.

The original cast for topdog/underdog will feature Congo Square Ensemble Members Daniel Bryant as Booth and Anthony Irons as Lincoln.

When the casts are switched on February 5, Daniel Bryant will assume the role of Austin and Anthony Irons will play Lee in True West. In topdog/underdog Stephen Lois Grush will play Booth and Matthew Brumlow will play Lincoln. 

American Classic Repertory will be performed at American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St. in Chicago.  Previews for True West are January 15 - January 17, 2008.  Previews for topdog/underdog are January 22 - January 25, 2009. Regular performances for American Classic Repertory run Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $35 Thursdays and for matinees, and $40 on Friday and Saturday evenings. For reservations or further information, call 773-409-4125 or visit

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